Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Second Day

The Brettonians line up for battle

After the 45 minute walk home (seriously, why did we book a hotel so awkwardly far away from the venue, town and everything?), a long tactical discussion and a brief nights rest, we awoke the next day ready to try and climb back up the ladder.

As we arrived at Warhammer World, we passed through crowds of coffee-cup holding players and made our way to the first of two tables for the day. Across the board from us was a dauntingly large horde of Skaven and goblins.

As a Skaven player myself, my hordes of ratmen still being my Warhammer army of choice in all things, this really worried me. I knew the tools these guys alone could bring to the table, and our harassment and pick-off-the-stragglers tactics weren't going to work so well here; there were just too many of them for my bows to pin down. Also, a Plague Priest, a level 4 Goblin (the first high level wizard we'd met the entire tourney), a giant and a Hellpit Abomination?! Terrifying!

So it was that I kind of consigned myself and my elves to being charge redirecters, roadblocks and niggling annoyances to the enemy flanks, and deployed heavy east, facing off against the Skaven, whilst Davids Brettonians held the western flank.

My opening gambit was to move the Warhawk Riders right across the board (thanks to their vanguard and flying cavalry rules) and to nuke the Poison Wind Mortar. To my army, it's a nasty piece of equipment - had it reached the Brettonian lines, all hell would have been unleashed. The Glade Riders and my Lord proceeded to try and thin out some of the units before they could wheel around the tower and come for Davids flanks.

On the western side of the battlefield, things were looking quite hairy. The giant lumbered into a central position ready to cause havoc against either of our armies, and the Snotling Pump Wagon, Goblin Chariot and Hellpit Abomination all bounded forwards an incredible distance, really putting the pressure on David.

Then came the glory of the Knights Errant's charge. My army had taken a pounding from the enemy magic phase, unable to deal with a level 4 wizard who could steal our power dice, but Davids Knights were blissfully out of range, and bravely charged the Goblin Chariot, carving it to driftwood. The second unit, led by the Paladin decided to take on the Hellpit Abomination itself, eventually fleeing to safety.

On the eastern flank, my wood elves were decimated. The Skaven had pinned down my Glade Guard and my Spellsinger, cutting them apart, and my Lord and the remaining Glade Riders headed west to assist. With some lucky rolls, the Spellsinger had managed to weaken the giant by attacking it with a forest before becoming Skavenbait, and the last of the riders and my Lord finally took the beast down.

From there on out, my Wood Elves were out of the fight, but David took his knights around the goblin army chewing through unit after unit. Even his trebuchet crews managed to hold out against a spider rider ambush for long enough to bring the game back up to a draw result. The best we'd had all tournament!

Our fifth and final game was again Skaven, but this time allied with the evil forces of the Warriors of Chaos, and the battle was 'Blood & Glory' - a scenario won by destroying the enemy general and banners. We looked out across the table at our opponents army, and immediately saw our game plan. The enemy army was only one point above breaking, and all of their points were in one 20-man clanrat unit. All we'd have to do was make that unit break and flee the board, and game over.

Interestingly, that unit was deployed right up on a hill in clear line of sight with a warp lightning cannon right behind it. This meant that if the unit fled, even a roll of double one would be enough to flee the table (Skaven add one for 'Scurry Away' and the cannon would count as free distance in the flee). Could it be this easy?!

We set up fairly aggressively, we had our target and knew exactly what to do.

David opted not to pray, sacrificing his Blessing of the Lady (5+/6+ Ward Saves that he has an uncanny knack of passing) for the opportunity to get first turn. He reasoned that if we took first turn and pummelled that unit with both trebuchets, then it would be game over on turn 1. A sound strategy...

...except David fluffed both of his Trebuchet rolls and proceeded to barely scratch the target unit. Thus, the enemy crept closer, though curiously left that unit still upon the ridge, unmoving. To this day I'm still not sure if they were trying to give us the easy win, or if they genuinely either didn't realise the game rested on that single unit, or if they were confident that the unit would hold.

My Glade Riders and Warhawks raced up the flanks, eager to harass and annoy any units that got too close, tempting them away from the main battle-line so that David could do his best to get his Knights in there to deal with the unit personally if he continued badly with the trebuchets.

Which he did.

For three turns the trebuchets did very little, and the Knights, without their Blessing of the Lady, became much easier pickings for chaos trolls. It genuinely looked like we were going to be crushed alive by the opponents forces. A Chimaera moving down the eastern flanks, and hordes of Skaven down the west really boxed our armies into the centre, where things were looking more and more likely to degenerate into a meat grinder we couldn't win.

Then it happened. The trebuchets hit home and decimated the unit we wanted. All that was left was the Lord, the BSB and the Champion. David had done it. If the champion had died, then the Lord and BSB would have been able to rally, as they would no longer have been under 25% starting strength. As it happened, they failed their Leadership and fled the board, giving us a narrow victory.

So we shook hands, packed up and awaited for the awards.

All in all, we placed about two thirds of the way down the list - not as bad as it could have been, and we were the highest of the three teams we'd come with. 

Our army lists didn't win though, to great disappointment and confusion. Instead, the winner was an army list written on genuine pig skin, that had rotted away by Saturday evening and made several of the events team wretch with its rancidity. The photo they showed of it was barely even a recognisable army list, and the description all of the team gave when I spoke to them was not a pleasant one, thus I was slightly confused as to why it had won. Still, we'd received numerous compliments on our lists, and we'd had a great time. So we made our way down to the car with the guys, and began the long journey back south!

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